Newport Beach City Council members voted 5 to 1 on Tuesday to add sharrows along East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar — a decision that will put the city on the map when it comes to bicycle safety, advocates said.
“It moves Newport Beach into a position of leadership in Orange County,” Pete van Nuys, executive director of the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, said moments after the vote. “Pacific Coast Highway is an icon. These will be the first sharrows on Pacific Coast Highway, maybe in all of California but definitely in Southern California.”
Sharrows are markings on roadways that are too narrow for bike lanes and serve to remind motorists that cyclists have a right to use a traffic lane. The city’s Bicycle Safety Task Force first began discussing sharrows in 2009, but after a new Bicycle Safety Committee formed, there was a split vote in 2011 before the group decided to ask the Council this year to go forward with plans.
At Tuesday's meeting, 11 members of the public spoke, nearly all in favor of sharrows.
“I stand before you as a survivor of a horrible traffic accident last month,” said Mark Goodley of Newport Beach, who was injured on East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar when a car struck him. “The accident would have been largely avoided if sharrows were in place.”
Several members of the Bicycle Safety Committee also spoke in support of the plan, echoing a letter the group drafted last month, asking the Council to consider a sharrows program. The committee members emphasized that sharrows didn’t make new rules for cyclists but rather reminded everyone on the road of cyclists’ rights.